Thermalright Archon SB-E X2 & Macho Rev.A

In our December 2011 CPU cooler roundup, Thermalright was starting to focus on its budget products such as the True Spirit 140, which earned our recommendation as the best bang for your buck. Today's shootout will do no such thing, highlighting some of the company's most monolithic options.

Thermalright Archon SB-E X2

The first Archon slim tower heatsink was released in 2010 and since then Thermalright has continued to improve on the design. The Archon SB-E X2 marks the introduction of the company's proprietary Pressure Vault Bracket System, which lets you set how much pressure the cooler puts on your CPU.

The mounting system is important as the Archon SB-E X2 weighs 750 grams without fans and 1100 with them, and it's important to secure that kind of weight when it's dangling from your motherboard.

Thermalright used its efficient double ball bearing TY-141 fans which are rated from 900 to 1300 RPM, move 28.3 to 73.6 CFM of air and generate 17 to 21dBA of noise. Of note, these 140mm fans are actually a little longer than expected at 152mm.

That 750 gram heatsink measures 170.2H x 155W x 53.6D mm and features eight 6mm copper heatpipes that extend out of a C1100 pure copper mirror finished base with nickel plating. These heatpipes then stretch up into an array of 44 fins which are 0.5mm thick with a 1.9mm spacing.

Although the name suggests that the Archon SB-E is designed exclusively for Sandy Bridge-E processors, it can be installed on any current AMD or Intel platforms.

As the priciest cooler in our roundup, we're expecting big things from the Archon SB-E X2 and we might even witness some of the best results to date with its fans spinning at a mere 900 RPM.

Thermalright Macho Rev.A

As impressive as the Archon SB-E X2 is, we think the Macho Rev.A might be even more exciting as it is 35% cheaper at just $55 and still comes with a 140mm fan strapped to a hefty heatsink.

The Macho Rev.A is a beast, measuring 162H x 140W x 102D mm without a fan and weighs 710g, making it almost as heavy as the Archon SB-E X2. This is surprising because although the physical dimensions of the Macho Rev.A are 64% greater than the Archon SB-E X2, it's actually lighter.

Whereas the Archon SB-E X2 fins are 0.5mm thick, the Macho Rev.A's measure 0.4mm and there are less of them. Thermalright also increased the fin spacing to 3.1mm from 1.9mm, which leaves the Macho Rev.A with 31 of them instead of 44. Breaking that down further, the Macho Rev.A has only 3% less surface area of aluminum fins at 10.8 cubic inches versus 11.1 for the Archon SB-E X2.

While it may not measure up to the SB-E X2 on paper, the Macho Rev.A provides plenty of dispersal area and we don't doubt the cooling ability of its nickel-plated C1100 copper base, its six 6mm heatpipes or its stack of fins.

The package came with a Phillips head screwdriver stamped with Thermalright's name and logo, but it's of a surprisingly good quality so we had no shame using it.

Thermalright ships the Macho Rev.A with its ultra-quiet TY-140 fan, which runs at 900 to 1300 RPM, hurls a breezy 28.3 to 73.6 CFM of air and produces 17 to 21dBA of noise.

The Macho Rev.A also comes with a mounting kit that supports many AMD and Intel platforms, both current and obsolete.